Happy Mother's Day
by Yvonne McQuilkin
Gotham Books

"Yes, just like the large blade that comes down suddenly in Mr. Leo's back over and over. The blood spurting upwards, then falling back down as rain; harshly and silently!"

Gifted with talented singing, Josephine Charles is promised fame and fortune if she follows Mr. Leo to the United States of America. As a village girl who has always dreamed of performing on stage, Josephine can't help but leap at the opportunity, even if at the cost of leaving her lover, Joseph Celestine, behind. What starts as a farewell party for her—with a fashion show and a chance for her to say goodbye to her village with a performance—ends in catastrophe. Not only is the event interrupted by several disturbances, but so too is Josephine assaulted by her sponsor, Mr. Leo. When Joseph steps in to save her, the lovers' lives change forever, with Josephine's dreams being crushed and Joseph being sent to prison.

Although the effectiveness of the narrative would have been enhanced through some additional editing, the strength of McQuilkin's writing is evident. Stylistically, the author subtly emphasizes the disruption and change within the plot via the continuous jumps between past and present. However, this can feel a bit jarring at times, considering how time in the past seems to move faster than time in the present. Even so, these transitions are manageable once the connection between the characters in the past and present is established. Furthermore, the colloquial jargon in both the speech and writing style works nicely to give the text some vibrancy in its telling, especially when it comes to characterization. Additionally, the internal voices of the various characters are executed effectively, enabling the novel's players to come across as realistic and relatable.

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